Challenges scare the hell out of me, but the Gorgeous, Fiery, Talented Wonder that is Bojana, has given me the challenge of telling the story of this super cool photo she chose as inspiration, and I love and adore her, so I can’t say no. At first, I was sure I would write a poem – one that I will write later, as B’s picture inspired me to write about something I have wanted to write about for years and it may take some time – but decided to travel way out of my comfort zone and attempt a bit of a story instead. You have been warned!!!!!
The Eyes of Witches
Wanda, Holly and Astrid grew up in a small village, surrounded by dense and lush woodland. They lived in an old house that creaked with the wind as if it were singing to the rain that echoed in its rafters. As children, the girls spent most of their time together, living out the landscape of their imaginations in the vast rooms of their home. The three of them were inseparable, almost indistinguishable. Except for their eyes.
Wanda had brown eyes, not dark, but warm like the flickering of a candle, speckled with gold around the edges. When she was happy, the golden rings shed warmth on anyone she looked at, but when she was angry or sad, the rings turned to fire and scorched the flesh of anyone who dared to look her in the eye.
Holly’s eyes were green, so pure and bright, they came alive when she laughed, like new leaves sprouting on the branches of a tree. With just a glance, she could inspire flowers to bloom, feed their roots with the earthy warmth of her gaze, and cajole them to wind around the necks of anyone who made her mad.
Aislin’s blue eyes were ever-changing. She brought the sky into the room when she was joyful, but when she felt rage, she could unleash a storm that would devour anyone in her path.
The three girls shared a birthday in the middle of summer, and every year, when the moon rose to the highest point in the sky, their three grandmothers led them to the woods, lit a fire and regaled them with stories of witches with beautiful eyes, who hunted the evil creatures that lurked outside the boundaries of their village. As they got older, they learned that the brave witches in the stories were the Grandmothers themselves. They were part of a legacy of women who had inherited eyes imbued with the powers of fire, earth and water, tasked to vanquish the evils that threatened the countryside. The stories turned to lessons as the years passed, and each lesson ended with the same fierce edict. Never let them see you, their grandmothers warned. Evil can never know you are coming.
On the night of their 21st birthday, three women, one with the power of fire, one the power of the earth, and the last harnessing the power of water, set out on their very first hunt, scouring the countryside beyond their tiny village. In a clearing, just barely illuminated by a sliver of moon, they found him. A young man, blonde hair sticking to beads of sweat that covered his forehead. He was shirtless and focused on his task, impervious to the chill as he plunged his shovel again and again into the earth. Next to the looming grave was a child, a girl of no more than 9, stripped, bleeding from a gash on her head, and bound with thick dirty rope. The child quietly cried, looking out into the darkness for a glimmer of hope. First, she saw their eyes, fire, earth and water filling up the stillness, and she knew she was safe.
The man grunted with malevolence and continued to violently dig, ignoring the roots that climbed from the earth and wrapped slowly around his ankles. He wiped the moisture from his brow with a bloody hand and screamed at the terrified child to shut up, not realizing what he heard was the roar of the sky, opening up to unfurl a rage of ice and rain. He didn’t feel the fire until the handle of his shovel turned to flames and the skin on his hands began to blister. The first thing they did when they captured him, was pluck out his eyes.
I pass this challenge along to three incredibly talented writers who I am lucky to know and be constantly inspired by.
Steve (I own you one!!!!) Sarah and Bryan. No pressure ever, as you all know, but if you choose to take a spin with this, I know you will all come up with something wonderful! Any genre, any style, anything goes!!!!
This is the image I have chosen for you! Kinda strange, I know….but that’s how I roll!!!!